. j a n u a r y.
January of 2018 was fairly uneventful. We went with my parents to see The Lion King at the Fox Theater early in the month and it was great! We also celebrated UGA’s miraculous victory at the Rose Bowl and then the heartbreak of losing the National Championship to Alabama. Annabeth turned eleven months old and wasn’t particularly interested in walking, but she loved to “spider” crawl. We also picked up on our commitment level to running in January despite the cold weather. Coach began experimenting with keto and found that he really liked how he felt and looked.
The Fox for The Lion King!
.f e b r u a r y.
February of 2018 was super, super exciting! Annabeth turned one and we celebrated with a small Kate Spade themed dinner party. We’re Dave Ramsey people and Coach loves to give me challenges–his birthday challenge was to plan a birthday party for $200 or less. I took him up on that challenge and succeeded! I’m always shocked at what friends spend on birthday parties for children, so I am always looking at ways to host elegant affairs that focus on celebrating our girl with simplicity. At the party, we asked guests not to bring gifts–we focus on quality over quantity concerning toys for Annabeth. As a result, she doesn’t have many (and that’s okay with us). In lieu of gifts, we asked guests to consider bringing a new or well-loved book to donate to a local charity. I was so proud to donate a big box of books in honor of our girl!
We also traveled to New York City to celebrate our girl and spent a week exploring all that the city had to offer. Annabeth enjoyed touring One World Trade, 30 Rock, the Museum of Natural History (her favorite!), Tiffany’s, Central Park, the American Girl Store (to pick out her first Bitty Baby), a great dinner at Carmine’s, and The Met. She took her first little baby steps in the basement of The Met and also got to see her first real snow.
February was also a challenging month as our church decided to corporately fast for 21 days. Josh was already doing the keto diet and I was still very successfully nursing Annabeth, so we fasted all social media outlets for 21 days. It was really refreshing and caused us to reflect inwardly while also focusing more on the people in front of us versus the screens in our hands.
Annabeth’s “Cake” Spade
.m a r c h.
March of 2018 was another quiet month. At this point in the year, I had already begun exploring career opportunities away from the school where I’d taught for eight years. I loved my team and my students, but I was feeling unfulfilled in many areas. I created a profile with a neighboring system on the off-chance that I might find a fit there (it was especially attractive because Josh was teaching and coaching in that particular system). I made it through another year of cheerleading tryouts and realized it was another area of my life that had once been so satisfying and now felt unfulfilling and stagnant. In a way, I’d come to resent coaching despite the exhilaration I felt on Friday nights and Saturday mornings. I think the draw of “simply” being a wife and mother was really hitting home–I felt like I missed out on so much with Annabeth and with Coach. We were just coming off of our fast at church and I felt like maybe the Lord was nudging me in a different direction. It was frightening–my school system had literally been home to me since I was in the first grade. It was comfortable. I had friends there. But something in my spirit was pushing me to a place of uncomfortable discontent. It was at this point in the year where my drive to work was filled with tears because I just didn’t want to be there. It was so hard because I couldn’t pinpoint why! I had friends, a great job, an easy commute, and amazing students. Sunday nights were awful each week because I was so unhappy. Again–it was a fabulous place to work, but the Lord seemed to be preparing my heart for something different by refining me in a way that hurt.
Meeting the Easter Bunny did NOT go well!
.a p r i l.
April of 2018 was a triumphant one. We spent a week exploring Charleston with my parents and I finished my first ever race–The Cooper River Bridge Run. If you’ve never run a race before, this was an easy, fun, fast-paced race that literally flew by. I finished in an hour and felt SO proud of myself! I worked hard to lose the baby weight after Annabeth was born, but I felt like I needed to prove to myself and others that I could do something difficult with my body. I trained hard for this race and PRd–the high at the finish line was amazing (and the carb-laden breakfast afterward was great). Some highlights from Charleston included visiting the historic district, eating tons of yummy seafood, and introducing Annabeth to my great-aunt who lives in Mt. Pleasant.
I was still facing significant discontent at work. I developed some pretty intense anxiety despite the fact that I was running all the time and working out like a fiend (this usually keeps me pretty peppy). I wanted so desperately to be happy but I felt so lost. Again, this was the Lord stripping down my interior to get me ready for something new. It. Was. Painful. I loved my students, adored my parapro, and got to work with one of my very best friends every single day. I knew I wanted to continue working in Special Education (that has always been a very clear direction in my life), but the stagnance of my existence just hurt. Coach was the ultimate support during this time–he prayed with me, prayed for me, helped me sort out my feelings (which is super hard for me), held me when I cried, and tried to make everyday a treat when we got home from work. I can never thank him enough for the work he put in to keep our home and family running during this time. Little did I know that things were about to change in a major way…
Coach & Annabeth with our flowers for the cross at church on Easter Sunday.
.m a y.
May of 2018 was exciting because I turned 30 and I celebrated my second Mother’s Day. The past few years were hard on Mother’s Day because I wanted to be a mom and we just weren’t there yet. It felt like everyone I knew had a baby (or two or three) and we were just left behind. On Mother’s Day of 2018, I spent some time reflecting on how wonderful God’s plan for our family truly was–we love our darling girl and if we’d jumped on not heeding what the Lord had planned for our lives, we might have missed out on her. Coach and Annabeth surprised me with my favorite gift (lots of Lilly!) and made me a nice breakfast.
Right after my birthday, I decided to join Coach on his keto journey. The first week or so was tough, but I pretty much haven’t looked back since then. I had to put in some work to get my macros right since I lost a bit too much weight on the front end, but fueling my body with good foods and avoiding grains and sugar definitely brought a bounce back to my step. At this point I finally packed up my Medela pump for good (all the praise hands), but continued to nurse Annabeth in the mornings and at night. I loved nursing for the connection we had–it was our special time together. Josh was the ultimate cheerleader for pumping and nursing and I was so thankful that we had a freezer full of milk and that I was able to nurse her.
May of 2018 also changed my life completely because I interviewed for a job at Madison County High School. I’d applied on a whim (and maybe a whisper from the Lord that this was it) and interviewed on my 30th birthday. Two days later the principal called to offer me the job and I immediately accepted and felt such a peace in my spirit. Then I cried and cried at the thought of leaving my kids, my parapro, and my BFF–I binged an entire season of Golden Girls and then called her to tell her that I’d been offered a job and accepted it. She was incredibly supportive. We did everything together (literally everything), so this change in jobs didn’t just impact me, but her as well. A true friend is happy for you regardless and she was my biggest cheerleader when I made the decision to become a Red Raider.
Speaking of becoming a Red Raider, we faced another HUGE, life-changing moment when Coach was approached about leaving his beloved middle school football program to become a varsity-level coach at MCHS. This was a decision that made us sick to our stomachs because it could have such a major impact on everything. We both prayed more than we’d ever prayed about anything and finally came to the conclusion that we were prepared to become a high school coaching family. We knew it would be a major ministry point in our life and in our marriage, so we decided to embrace it full force.
Mother’s Day, 2018
My last day as Coach Callicutt. Now I’m just Mrs. Coach Callicutt!
.j u n e.
June of 2018 was a lot of fun because I was out for summer vacation, I got to be home with Annabeth everyday, we saw Hamilton to celebrate our eighth wedding anniversary (!), and we did some traveling. Josh immediately dove into varsity coaching with workouts and usually left the house around 7:00 a.m. each morning and got back in the early afternoons. I really relished my time with my girl and quickly worked out a simplified schedule that maximized being outside and limited screen time. I was pretty proud that most days we didn’t turn on the television!
I began another graduate school journey at this time and started working on my Ed. S. My Master’s degree from Georgia Southern is in Special Education, Adapted Curriculum. This new degree (which I will complete in December of 2019!) will be in Special Education, General Curriculum. It was definitely a challenge to have a toddler and be in graduate school at the same time, but Coach did a great job in making sure I had plenty of time to complete my assignments.
Annabeth and I traveled with my parents to HHI for a week in June. Coach was able to join us for a long weekend away from football. The highlight of our trip was definitely the food because keto + seafood is my jam. I think I may have eaten ten pounds of shrimp cocktail that week! Annabeth’s first two experiences with the beach (SSI and IOP) had been…unsuccessful. This trip was great because she finally decided to be the mermaid I knew she could be. She loved it all–the ocean, the waves, the sand, and all the snacks my mom packed for the beach each day. My adventurous girl also didn’t turn her nose up at any of the fresh seafood we enjoyed! We did a little research and discovered that Disney has a resort on HHI and cheated by enjoying Dole Whip (our favorite WDW treat). It was Annabeth’s first taste of Disney World and it made me so ready for our upcoming trip to Walt Disney World!
Stay-at-Home Mom vibes all summer long!
HHI with AB
.j u l y.
July of 2018 was another busy month of travel for our family. We began our month at FCA Family Camp on SSI. We joined hundreds of other coaching families from around the United States for a time of rest and rejuvenation to get us ready for the upcoming chaos of football season. This was our second year attending FCA Camp at Epworth by the Sea and it was Annabeth’s first time participating in Kid’s Camp. She had a blast! We managed to stay mostly keto throughout the week and really enjoyed focusing on turning football into our family’s ministry. We connected with coaching families we’d met the previous year and enjoyed more delicious seafood.
Our Broad River District FCA does a fabulous job of fundraising so that coaching families are able to attend camp at little to no cost. Without the scholarships they make possible, I know many families would forgo this experience because it’s pretty expensive. If you’re reading this and local, click here to learn more about how to fund the Broad River District and send coaches who directly impact your kids to camp!
The very second we got back from SSI, we did a lot of laundry and then packed up to return to a family favorite: Lake Burton. We’ve spent several summer weeks on Lake Burton every year since I was born. It’s a respite from the hot Georgia sun and a time for extended family to be together (seriously…aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents, cousins…if you’re related to us, you’re probably there). We spent our time reading, hiking, exploring the lake, and playing Spades. We also took the opportunity to have some professional family photos taken and they bring me such joy when I look at them!
The month ended with the reality of heading back to work–new school, new job, new team. I completed new teacher orientation, got my classroom setup, met my new coworkers, and instantly felt like I was home. All of the stress, anxiety, and angst I’d experienced at the beginning of the year gave birth to a peace in my spirit when I walked through the doors of my new classroom. I felt renewed and like I finally had a purpose again. It was hard to very suddenly feel out of place in my old home, but there was a purpose behind that pain (including the pain of leaving what felt comfortable). God orchestrated everything so perfectly by guiding me to the place where my husband would be taking on a varsity coaching role. I never sought out to be a coach’s wife or a coaching family, but it fits.
Coach, Mrs. Coach, and Baby Coach were ready for camp!
The babies and daddies on the boat!
.a u g u s t.
We celebrated many firsts in August of 2018: first day of school together (we both wore Red Raider Red!), Annabeth’s first day with both of my parents (my Mama retired in May), and first varsity football game. We also began the ministry portion of being a coaching family by opening up our home to our offensive lineman. It’s a little scary to agree to cook for so many big boys (seriously, I almost considered a GoFundMe for my grocery bill), but it actually turned out to be a great time. The big boys played in the yard, ate pretty much everything in my house, left the toilet seats up, and tracked in mud, but Annabeth loved all the attention. Surprisingly, none of the boys were afraid of her. I also started the tradition of having treats in my classroom on game days and my students enjoy seeing the football players pop in on Fridays.
First day of school in Red Raider Red!
.s e p t e m b e r.
In September of 2018, we got in our football season//school year groove. Mid-month, I finally weaned Annabeth. It was hard for both of us, but it was time. Part of me still wishes that I’d continued until she decided to be finished, but we made it almost twenty months. I’m a huge advocate of nursing if it works out for you–the benefits for us both were great. I still have a very small freezer stash to use in case she’s ever under the weather, but throughout my nursing journey I was also able feed five other babies in various parts of the United States through milk donations. It’s amazing what a female body can do!
We spent Labor Day weekend at Lake Hartwell and officially broke in my Mama & Daddy’s new RV! Annabeth love, love, loves the camper and she especially loved being out on the boat. I took the opportunity to soak up the last bit of the summer’s rays.
We traveled to Stone Mountain and celebrated Homecoming at MCHS at the end of the month. We especially loved this trip because the entire Cuz Club got to be together. Since the formation of the Cuz Club, we’ve added six spouses and five babies! I’m looking forward to seeing how the Cuz Club grows and expands over the next decade.
Annabeth with her adoring Uncle Grayson
The *whole* Cuz Club
.o c t o b e r.
The beginning of October started off with a BANG as we celebrated Josh’s 31st birthday. I surprised him by having our very dear friends Darren & Cara down to visit–he walked in from his football game to us hanging out in our living room. He was so excited and surprised! We love when Darren and Cara visit because they love Annabeth so much and they love our little town. Cara once said it’s like visiting an alternate universe. They always love to visit The Roystonian for Saturday morning breakfast and on Saturday evening we met part of the Cuz Club along with Josh’s brother Mike and his wife Lanie for a wild Greek feast in Atlanta. If you ever have the opportunity to eat at Taverna Plaka, do it!
We traveled with my parents and grandparents over our Fall Break and spent an extended weekend in Dillard, Georgia. We camped, shopped, ate too many boiled peanuts, watched UGA lose to LSU, and enjoyed Mile-High Chocolate Pie in Franklin, NC. This little mini vacation was a great respite from the grind of football season and I was so grateful that our bye week matched up with the break so Josh could join us.
For Halloween, Annabeth dressed up as Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl from Toy Story. Annabeth is absolutely nuts about Toy Story, so we knew this costume would be a hit. Growing up, my mother always diligently made us beautiful costumes–she spent hours sewing, hemming, hot gluing, and bedazzling (it was the early 90s). We continued the tradition by having Mama make Annabeth’s costume and it was so cute!
The best part about this night was the flaming cheese
Woody & Jessie!
.n o v e m b e r.
November was a month we had been looking forward to for over a year. In July of 2017, our family began planning Annabeth and Asher’s first trip to Walt Disney World. If you know us at all, you know we are fanatical about Disney World. Asher wasn’t even born when we booked our trip! I’ll talk more about Disney World in a minute, but I wanted to touch a bit on the end of football season first.
Football season, by its very nature, is hard. Josh is away from home from April until at least the first weekend of November with the possibility of the season stretching all the way into December. It’s late nights, early mornings, very little sleep, and an intense amount of stress. Josh worked at least 14-16 hours a day for six days each week. We learned so much about how to function as a football family during this first season of varsity ball. We succeeded in having the offensive lineman over once a month for a meal and fellowship and while that was tough on me, it was rewarding. So many of our boys come from great homes, but in some cases, the simple meal of pancakes and sausage patties at our dining room table might be the only home cooked meal that a player experienced all month long. Additionally, it was important to both of us to emphasize what a healthy, stable, loving family dynamic looks like. We are not perfect, not even close. We just want to demonstrate the love of Jesus to the boys for as long as we have their attention. This meant opening up our home, opening up our table, opening up our pantry, and opening up our hearts. Any ministry is hard, but it’s worth fighting for.
We celebrated the end of football season by decorating for Christmas. We’ve always liked to decorate early and it felt fitting to spend a concentrated amount of time together trimming the tree and watching Christmas movies. Annabeth loves Christmas decor and she went nuts over the lights and all the pretty colors. Surprisingly, she did a pretty good job of leaving the decorations alone.
We traveled with Mama, Daddy, Aunt Daphne, Uncle Stanley, Lauren, Brad, Asher, Chase, Elisabeth, Chase’s parents (Mr. Steve and Mrs. Debbie) and Brad’s parents (Papa J and Mimi) a few days before Thanksgiving to Disney World! When we checked in, Mama, Daddy, Josh, and I took a big step and upgraded our tickets to Annual Passes. Mama and I have always dreamed of being Annual Passholders and it made sense for us to pull the trigger at this time. We stayed at the All-Star Sports resort in the football building (ha!) along with the rest of our extensive party.
We spent the entire week of Thanksgiving galavanting all over (Magic) Kingdom come. Annabeth was immediately hooked. On our Babymoon to Disney World, Josh and I spent nearly our entire vacation dreaming of what it would be like to introduce Annabeth to the place we loved so much. What if she hated it? What if Mickey made her cry? I’m so thankful that she took to Disney like a duck takes to water. She loved it all–from the early morning bus rides to the Mickey Mouse ice cream sandwiches my Mama would sneak her every afternoon.
My favorite memory was her face the first time she met Mickey and Minnie. I couldn’t help but cry because it was such a pure, sweet moment.
Best. Week. Ever.
.d e c e m b e r.
The decorations were already up and I’d finished our Christmas shopping on November 2, so December was a very relaxing month for us. We attended a few Christmas parties and Mama and I sang in the Christmas cantata at church. We experienced the tiniest bit of winter weather (just some slushy mess) and also planned a very quick trip to Disney World to meet Grayson and Victoria.
This second trip to Disney was a blast–we felt so relaxed and at ease. We enjoyed dining at the Rose & Crown Pub at EPCOT one evening and at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios the next. Annabeth was still nuts about being at Disney World and the place was practically empty so we were able to do a lot despite the fact that we were technically only in the parks for 2.5 days.
The rest of the month was spent with lots of Christmas gatherings with family. We were both so thankful that we didn’t have to travel this year. Before Annabeth was born, Josh and I would typically do three states in two days. You read that right: three states in two days. It was absolutely exhausting, but a lot of fun. We’re just not up for it with an active toddler, so it made our Christmas vacation feel like an actual vacation when we were able to relax at home.
My favorite Christmas memory this year was hosting family for a dinner party on Christmas Eve. I pulled out all the stops with my beloved Christmas Spode, bœuf à la Bourguignonne, and all sorts of other tasty treats. I’ve dreamed of being grown enough to host a family event for ages and it was wonderful to finally do so. After Annabeth went to sleep (right on time, I might add!), Santa Claus got to work with a retro kitchen that she lost her marbles over. Family members coordinated by gifting different Melissa & Doug food items. My Grandma and Pop bought her a Little People Camper that quickly became her very favorite toy.
It was a year of tremendous growth in all areas of my life: spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. God allowed me to become discontent so I could move along to experience all that He had in store for me. It was a huge leap of faith and far outside of my comfort zone for me to branch out. It took some major guts for me to say no in areas of my life that really didn’t matter the most. This meant saying goodbye to some pretty great people and awesome experiences and it was hard–so hard.
In the process of letting go of so much, I gained something incredible: I got my sense of self back. I regained a sense of purpose that I hadn’t felt in quite a while. Because I let go of so much, Josh was able to accept a varsity coaching position which has opened up a whole new world of ministry opportunities for our family. I’ve been able to really focus on being a wife and being a mother–such a treat! I’ve found a renewed joy in teaching and discovered what a great joy homemaking can be.
Saying no to other things meant saying yes to her.
2018–difficult, but worth it.